Make a difference
Any form of donation is welcome here at Zanethemba, may it be monetary, food, services;
Everything makes a difference for our home for underprivileged babies and children.
“I will never forget you. I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
– Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV
Zanethemba (isiXhosa: ‘to bring hope’)
is a baby haven where we provide temporary safe care for abused, abandoned or neglected children from newborn to 6 years old. It is a sad fact that a service like this is necessary in our South African context. Children are removed from their families and then placed in our care with a court order. We provide therapeutic services, education, nutrition, access to medical assistance and most importantly, love, in order to show children how to trust and love again.
We hope that you enjoy taking a tour of Zanethemba and we look forward to hearing from you!
Making a difference:
Children cared for since 2008
Statistics since 2022:
Child returned to parents
Children placed in foster care
Children placed in a children’s home
Zanethemba Nederland: brings hope into the lives of people in a desperate situation. We do this by supporting volunteers and their projects. A network of enthusiastic people supporting the work in the Netherlands.
Amazing success Story
Sometimes I feel the voice of God only come in the whispers of life. What started as a whisper became a journey of faith, one that would lead us to our daughter.
Despite having no experience with or examples of family who had adopted in our lives, we began talking about adoption as part of the plan for our family before we were even married. Adam and I knew that children would be an important part of our marriage and felt the whisper of adoption early on. We were deterred somewhat initially by the cost, feeling that it was out of reach for us at that time. We had three beautiful children in the following 5 years. As our children grew and we made a move across the US to pursue more medical training, we felt the whisper again. But we were in no better financial situation. By this time we had some friends who had adopted domestically and had done so with the support of many grants. This made it seem at least possible and gave us a glimmer of hope. Adam took a step in faith and went to an informational meeting with Bethany Christian Services (BCS). He asked good questions and felt hopeful after the meeting. We were most nervous about our financial situation but got the go ahead from the team at BCS.
I believe that the time you spend waiting to welcome home your new child/children is similar to the gestation period for a pregnancy – it gives you time to prepare, educate yourself, and start the slow adjustment to a new normal. We approached our first steps into the process of adoption similarly. We read as much as we could and asked lots of questions, remaining open to answers that were surprising or difficult. We got assigned to a social worker from BCS, Amy, who completed our home study. I didn’t know it then, but she would become our biggest cheerleader and our sounding board, our emotional support and our friend. The home study allowed us to explore all aspects of our lives – our relationship, our children, our living situation, our finances, our friends and family, our inherent biases, our hopes, our dreams, our strengths and weaknesses. By the end of the home study interviews, we were required to have made some decisions including which country program we are going to move forward with and our openness (i.e. which special needs we were open to). While this process felt somewhat odd at first, we quickly realized that life is full of decisions and we just had to make them in faith.
We were drawn to the country of South Africa because of the culture and the beauty. The program that BCS had in South Africa was relatively new but seemed to fit our family well. We moved forward as part of the South Africa country program, excited about learning more about the people, the variety of cultures, the history, the strengths and struggles, and the uniqueness of the area. We were open to a variety of special needs for our future child or children and we would spend the next 3 years being stretched and challenged to be even more open to more significant needs. We prepared for our waiting with prayer, continued knowledge seeking about all aspects of adoption, getting excited about exploring South Africa and teaching our children about what we were learning, listening and dancing to South African music, and dreaming about the child who would bless our family.
As our waiting continued, we decided to take a last minute family vacation to Mexico in May 2017 with the goal of exploring a new culture and practicing a longer travel with our 3 children at the time. The trip was such a life-giving time and was an opportunity for reconnection as we prayed for how God would grow our family in the future. At the very end of our time in Mexico as we lie in bed with our kids, I saw the face of a little girl on the waiting child list for the South Africa program. My heart jumped. Somehow I knew that was our daughter when I saw her picture. The honest truth is that the coming weeks would see the Lord stretching and shaping us into the parents that our daughter needed. We had so many questions and we were nervous about her significant needs, but we kept looking at her face and remembering the Lord’s plans were His own and we were walking in faith. Two months after seeing her face for the first time, we got word that our family was chosen for her by people who loved the Lord and loved her spirit. The Lord’s plan for this beautiful girl included our family and we were part of the plan for her life and her for ours. We were so grateful.
The next 3 months were a whirlwind of emotions, planning, and furious preparation to meet our daughter. It’s funny to look back now but the Lord was ready for her to meet her family much faster than anyone, including us, anticipated. We were just able to make the cut-off to travel to South Africa before the holidays in the fall of 2017. The travel was exciting, stressful and exhausting all at the same time. Our entire family and one grandma came with on this journey. We arrived safely in South Africa and had one night to rest before traveling to Zanethemba Baby Haven to meet our daughter. I’m not sure how well or much we actually slept because the anticipation was intense and overwhelming but the Lord’s provision was on full display.
On November 7th, 2017 we traveled to Zanethemba to meet our daughter for the first time. It seems surreal now but it was a whirlwind in the moment. We first met Kirsten, the manager of the haven and a true advocate for our daughter. When we walked in, our little lady was sitting quietly at a kiddie table. Her eyes were big and brown. Her face was uncertain. She had been given a book of our pictures the week prior to our arrival so I believe she did recognize us somewhat but the fear in her eyes was real. Yes, we were her new family but we were also taking her from everything she knew and her comfort and safety. I think we had hoped she would love us right away, but she didn’t. You could see how loved she was at Zanethemba and how confused she was to be leaving all the amazing caregivers and volunteers who showed her love. Our transition was slow and it became obvious when she was ready to make the leap to staying with our family full time. We got our first smiles and our first tears within that first week. We watched her face brighten with the laughter of her siblings and watched her tears stop with the comfort of hugs. We saw glimmers of the little girl God created her to be flickering through the fear. On November 16th, 2017, Ayazi was officially adopted into our family and our hearts grew that much larger.
It has been about 7 months since Ayazi joined our family and we are finding our new rhythm as a family of 6 and watching our little girl blossom before our eyes. She continues to amaze us with her spirit and sweetness. We are learning that the Lord has a plan for Ayazi’s life that we are simply here to be witness to and to encourage and empower. She has challenges and limitations that we know will be her greatest strengths and assets someday. The little girl we first met 7 months ago seems almost unrecognizable. Ayazi is strong, sassy, spirited, funny, loving, and outgoing. Her spirit soars around her family and our close friends. She is growing and thriving. Watching the restoration of her spirit has been one of our greatest blessings. We are so thankful that she was shown love and felt loved during her time at Zanethemba – her heart was prepared to enter a family and be fully loved as she was created to be. We adore our Ayazi and are so honored to be able to watch the Lord write her story. ~ The Turner Family